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Raspberry Pi Smart TV: Plasma Bigscreen Project Offers Open-Source UI

(Image credit: Said Marroun/Shutterstock)

With many people stuck at home, the desire for an at-home media center is greater than ever. But what if you could add an open-source user interface (UI), or ditch the one built into your TV, with the help of Raspberry Pi? With Plasma Bigscreen, a new AI voice and KDE open-source development released this week, it's possible to use your Raspberry Pi 4 as a center of your media hub. 

"Plasma Bigscreen powers the interface on a single-board computer and uses the Mycroft AI voice assistant to provide a smart TV platform," it says on "Plasma Bigscreen will deliver not only media-rich applications, but also traditional desktop applications redesigned to fit the Bigscreen experience.

Plasma Bigscreen is described as a free open-source UI experience for big-screen TVs. The Pi version is still in its  beta stage, so expect a few bugs as well as improvements along the way. The UI is catered specifically to a TV experience—it even supports remote control operation. To make things a little more modern, you can also use voice controls to navigate.

The Plasma Bigscreen image is easily flashed onto a microSD card like most other Pi operating systems. It uses Wi-Fi to update and download content for streaming. 

Plasma Bigscreen also supports major streaming apps, which the OS calls "skills." This includes YouTube and Netflix. In addition to streaming, it can play a variety of compatible games and even functions as a web browser.

If you're interested in checking out Plasma Bigscreen, now is a good time. As of this week, you can download the beta image and flash it to a fresh SD card for your Pi 4. For more details and updates on Plasma Bigscreen, check out the project's official website

  • Umfriend
    Does it do Netflix well (and easily)?
  • Rookie_MIB
    And, just as importantly, can it work with a PI2/3? I have several of those lying around doing not a whole lot of anything.